The Lightest Ultralight Backpack

The LuxuryLite® Modular Frame Pack 33

The LuxuryLite® Modular Frame Pack 33

Planning to travel light? Everybody does. In backpacking where every unnecessary ounce becomes an intolerable burden, there’s always reason to cut back. But, you don’t want to cut out the best qualities of the gear you own.  Where’s the balancing point?

LuxuryLite® provides one of the best solutions to the puzzle we all solve every time we pack for a long trek. The pack’s simple telescoping frame fits any size hiker and contracts to fit carry-on restrictions. Modular storage compartments detach easily for baggage checks, and if you don’t need the extra space you don’t have to take it with you. Leave unnecessary modules at home.

[Update: For a minimalist one-pound ten-ounce ultralight pack with good recommendations from people who’ve used it to hike the Appalachian Trail and even climb to Mt. Everest’s summit, see my post about the Equinox Katahdin.]

The simplistic rectangular frame still performs the essential service of separating load from back, providing a cooling air space between you and your gear. There’s ample storage in any module for park-approved bearproof food canisters, now mandatory in many ursine-prone locations. Velcro closures backed with buckles and water resistant nylon fabric keeps gear both secure and dry.

There are some down sides. Maximum weight for the rig is about 30 pounds, counting the pack at 2 pounds 8 ounces fully equipped. Unless you combine top of the line ultralight gear, both manufactured and homemade, with the LuxuryLite® Pack you may be pressed for space on a trek that lasts past the weekend. For a suggested retail price of $385 for the entire system you could buy a lot of cheap day packs or a very reliable and versatile internal or external frame backpack. Cheap day packs even weigh less.

Osprey Talon 33

Osprey Talon 33

So get real. Look at alternatives like the Osprey Talon 33 Mountaineering Backpack
. For about $130 you get a durable and streamlined internal frame pack with built-in hydration pocket, loops for extra gear, mesh pockets on shoulder straps and belt for storing gel packs, GPS and other conveniences. Total volume of 2000 cubic inches won’t beat the LuxuryLite® at 4660 cubic inches, but filling the LuxuryLite®’s extra space with less than 30 pounds of gear could be tricky anyhow. The Osprey Talon 33 could pack a heavier load than the LuxuryLite®, but forty pounds is at the upper limit. Anything more and you risk gear failures somewhere down the trail.

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